LIVE REVIEW / Stress and relaxation: Joseph Gallivan on unconventional behaviour from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Forum
Thursday 07 October 1993
Old Nick himself, on the other hand, shows a few unintentional fissures in his cracked actor persona. But first: his marvellous entrance. He strolled out with just his keyboard player and a cigarette to perform the ballad 'Your Funeral, My Trial'. Putting what looks like the encore at the beginning of a show is the sort of gesture one needs more of these days. It shows you're comfortable enough to mess about with the conventional order of a show. Any corniness - the white trash character in the grey suit, the puff of smoke through the blue lights - was countered by the sheer gall of the man.
Song two, 'Tupelo', exploded into life as the guitarists and drummer joined them. Suddenly, Cave was thrashing about on the floor, all the while intoning his dread thoughts, such as: 'Go to sleep my little children, / The Sand Man's on his way.' Any Nick Cave song is a pick'n'mix of southern Gothic tropes and twisted Ry Cooder licks, atop a bed of noise. At any time he can drop into a talky bit about some femme fatale or have the band violently switch gear - like Nirvana only less predictable and with better lyrics.
But after 'Tupelo', and his customary, curt 'Th'nks', he leaned into the audience and did something bad. 'You know all the words, don't you?' he sneered, targeting someone in the front row. 'You must be about 45. You hear all the words don't you? Tha's great. (Pause) This one's for you.' In that little monologue, who was it that was really worried about growing old?
The song itself, 'I Had A Dream, Joe', was very well rendered. The former Birthday Party frontman has a loud, rich voice that fills up all the spaces in the song, and a rhythmic facility that can keep pace with the bare bass and snare of a song like 'Papa Won't Leave You, Henry'. He is one of the few artists who can still put out a good live CD. Cave's last three solo albums - The Mercy Seat, The Good Son and Henry's Dream - have seen his creativity improve with age.
So things seemed to be going fine until he took time out to ask: 'Isn't this concert going very well? I have a sudden feeling that the winds have changed.' Nobody seemed to know what he was on about.
Arts & Ents blogs
The Independent Bath Literature Festival: 'Top Gear' makes Saudis look liberal, Kirsty Wark tells book festival
Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
Mad about the girl: The cult of Veronica Mars
Stewart Lee: Beware - this man may be only joking
Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
- 5 Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry